5 Things to Help Make the Holidays Brighter

Some of the best holiday stories aren’t the ones you find on TV or in the movies…but right there in your home (or someone else’s home) surrounded by your friends and/or family. In this episode, we get to hear YOUR favorite holiday traditions and stories in our special holiday episode, “Our Happy Holidays”.

We are a little over a week away from Thanksgiving…one of my all-time favorite holidays…because let’s face it…I LOVE FOOD!

But, over the years I’ve observed interactions between families–not just my own – I love my family!…but also from other families–and it is interesting to see how holidays, such as Thanksgiving, that should be bringing people together and filling homes and hearts with joy and fellowship…can be one of the biggest stresses on relationships in the existence of the world.

Sadly, everyone can think of at least one family member (by blood or by marriage) that they dread having to see during the holidays because they know that this one individual can very literally make or break your time together…and they do so consistently and without fail. In fact, it could be argued that they have quite a history of killing the mood almost before you even get there and causing people to want to just pack it up and head home early…OR…just not go visit them at all.

This is unfortunate, sad and pathetic, and one of the great mysteries of the universe that we may never truly solve. BUT…I hope to provide some ideas below that can help make holidays this year a bit more…tolerable.

So here we go…my list of 5 Things To Help Make the Holidays Brighter:

  1. Family or not, you are a guest…remember that – If you are GOING to another person’s home, family or not, remember…you are still a guest in THEIR home. They may not do things the way you do. They may not cook the way you do. But you know what? You are a guest in THEIR home. Bring a smile, a warm heart, and your dish to contribute, and then…keep your lips shut about what you think they should or shouldn’t be doing or how they should or shouldn’t be cooking. Again…for the third time…you are a guest in THEIR home. This should ever-present in your mind.
  2. Family or not, they are a guest…remember that – If you are having others in YOUR home, family or not, remember…they are likely not trying to be controlling of the situation when they ask if they can help in the kitchen…they may legitimately just want to help. So, if you got a job that they can help with in the kitchen, give them something to do. Now, if they are the controlling type, it may be best to plan out the meal prior to Thanksgiving day, and hand out to those who are coming to your home what you would like for them to bring. If you know items that they absolutely love to make and feel like is their “specialty” (if they are the controlling type, they’ve probably told you what that item is on more than one occasion), give them that to bring and let them know how much you are looking forward to getting a bite of that thing they make so well. They may go along with it, or if they throw a stink about it you can politely let them know that this is what you’re doing for the meal and that if this isn’t to their liking then perhaps this year it may be best to find a different place to spend the holiday and we can try again next year.
  3. Leave the politics at home – For the love of all that is holy, leave the politics at home. Look…we all know you have an opinion on the current administration, the various parties in power, and probably even previous administrations…we all do…but you know what? You didn’t gather with your family and friends to reinforce what you’ve likely already been sounding off about on social media for the last 5 years. For one day…maybe even for one week…leave it alone. It’s OK. Really. Your politics will still be there when you get back.
  4. Leave the old family feuds at home – I know that you and uncle Billy got into an argument on Facebook in July when you posted something that was, in his mind, anti-American, and I know that your sister Susie questioned your parenting skills the last time you guys got together, and dog gone it…if grandma didn’t make things super awkward at the family reunion when she showed up and asked if you’re doing OK since you look so fat in that outfit…but if you’re going to survive this holiday with a smile on your face, you’re going to have to let those things go. Don’t get me wrong…it’s not OK that these fights even happened…and that they may even still be happening…but as a family, if Nazi Germans and British soldiers could call a truce on Christmas Eve during World War I to celebrate Christmas together in the middle of a battlefield…then surely you should be able to set things aside for one meal and an afternoon and enjoy some time together without rehashing the old feuds. Your heart will thank you for not spiking your blood pressure, and the pumpkin pie will taste just that much sweeter if you can.
  5. Be thankful for the ones you do get to see – Not everyone you had hoped would be around for the holidays will be around. It hurts knowing this. And what I’m about to say next isn’t to diminish the hurt and pain of the loss you have experienced…but don’t let who is NOT there keep you from enjoying the ones who ARE there. It is easy to consume your thoughts of who isn’t there and why. If they have passed from this world into the next, it is perfectly OK to remember the times when they were there. If they are still in this world, but just not part of your personal corner of the world, it is perfectly OK to remember the times when they were there. But in both cases, it is really easy for these things to become a distraction from the ones who are physically sitting in front of you. Don’t do that to yourself, and don’t do that to them.

And there you have it….5 Things to Help Make the Holidays Brighter. There are certainly more things that can be done or left at home to help make the holidays a bit more enjoyable…but these are the first 5 that came to my mind.

What are some things YOU can think of that can help make the holidays brighter?!

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